Greetings from Denver, Colorado! I have been in the city for almost a week now, staying with one of my best friends from high school, Claire! It has been a fun yet relaxed week filled with working in lots of coffee shops, popping in and out of local stores, and exploring some of this vast city’s neighborhoods. Over the weekend we spent one afternoon in the artsy RINO District (and had Latin-American dim-sum for dinner) and another hiking up to St. Mary’s Glacier and Red Rocks amphitheater. I have really enjoyed settling into the local life in Denver – surprisingly, it reminds me of Raleigh – and, of course, catching up with Claire and a couple of other girlfriends who have recently made their way out here. As usual, there will be an upcoming travel vlog and city guide featuring all my top recommendations! Here’s what else I am loving this week:
Sometimes you stumble upon a song that speaks to you in such a way, you wonder how you existed without it before. Last week, that song in question was “Comfort In The Chaos” by Emma Charles. In her airy voice, Charles confesses “I don’t own the wind / I don’t own the light / I don’t own the sky …” and continues to remind the listener to let go and find peace no matter what is going on around them. As of right now, she only has three songs on Spotify (I enjoy them all), so I am excited to hear what else this folk-pop singer-songwriter has up her sleeve.
Since I have been in Denver, I have devoured two exceptional (but completely different) books. Set in the late ’80s, The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess is a story about a young woman trying to find herself (and her writing voice) while simultaneously becoming an extra in the bohemian literary scene during a summer on the Cape. I think we are all suckers for coming-of-age novels, but I especially enjoyed this one because of the musings on creativity (genius vs. perseverance) and the power that the written word has in our culture. It was an easy read (would have been perfect for the beach) that will delight all book lovers.
Next up, I finally read Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land which has been on my radar for a while but shot to the top of my Libby list when Obama included it in his favorite summer book list. A memoir of a working, poor, single mother, dealing with a variety of problems both self-inflicted and beyond her control, this book is an accessible reality-check for what it means to be stuck in the cycle of poverty in the U.S. and the way the structure of the system keeps people down. I think the insight into one individual’s life is a good stepping-stone for people who want to learn more about the world of the working poor but are overwhelmed in reading about it as a whole. However, I do think there are better books on the topic. $2 a Day, Evicted, Both Hands Tied, and Nickel and Dimed are all books I have read previously and would highly recommend.
Unlike books, I have a tough time sticking to TV shows. Apart from The OC in middle school, the only other series that I have ever finished have been those that I have watched with someone else. It isn’t that I don’t like watching TV, it is just that my natural reaction when I am on my own is to reach for a book or my Kindle. I really want to watch more T.V. though because there are so many incredible shows out there and friends always remind me that this is the “era of brilliant television.” I tend to do better with shows that don’t have a lot of seasons (ideally just one) because it is hard for me to imagine committing to hours and hours of watching. So, Netflix miniseries tend to be the most appealing. Last winter, I loved Russian Doll and Sex Education but hadn’t watched anything since.
Luckily, Claire is a knowledgable TV critic, and so we decided to watch one of Netflix’s newest miniseries together – The Spy. With six episodes, I figured that we could start and complete it within my seven nights in Denver. This turned out to be very easy to accomplish as I was sucked into the show from the get-go. Inspired by the real-life story of Israel’s most famous spy, Eli Cohen (played by Sacha Baron Cohen) successfully goes undercover in Syria in the 1960s. He spends years devoted to his Arab persona becoming exceptionally close to the top-ranking politicians and even becoming Secretary of Defense, before, ultimately, being caught. The fact that this is a TRUE STORY is absolutely wild, and I thought the acting was impeccable. Netflix: I am ready to start bingeing.
One of the hardest things about switching to a clean beauty routine is that there is so much to learn that it can be completely overwhelming. That is why I am taking it step-by-step, product-by-product, and educating myself as much as I can about ingredients and brands. One of the best resources I have found so far is EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database which has a wide selection of online profiles for cosmetics and personal care products. The database grades products and companies based on their potential hazards and health concerns and helps you to navigate the wide range of options on the market. I have already learned so much about the ingredients I want to be avoiding and have a better idea of the products I want to be included in my make-up bag moving forward.
On my first day in Denver, Claire introduced me to the Stōk Oatmilk Cold Brew Coffee Latte, and I haven’t looked back. This beverage is creamy, smooth, and an excellent substitute for a coffee shop latte. Considering I drank an entire bottle within 24 hours, I don’t know if I should be regularly buying it (unless I can harness some more self-control), but I am tempted to try putting it into our morning smoothies to replace the regular oat milk that I use. I will let you know what I think!
Links I Love
1. To help me on my quest to be a binger, the best Netflix original series ranked.
2. Art exhibits are one of the best reasons to travel the country, here are 10 openings this fall.
4. An honest personal essay from Tavi Gevinson about her relationship with Instagram.
5. Proverbs for the Modern Dating World
What are you currently loving?
Let me know in the comments below!